A scaled search for a missing hiker in the Mt. Baldy area tragically concluded after the discovery of her body, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department reported. Lifei Huang, 22, an El Monte resident, was sadly found deceased on February 11, after being reported missing since the evening of February 4.
Following a citizen's drone spotting what appeared to be Huang, rescue teams were unable to immediately reach her due to treacherous mountain conditions and severe weather. Search efforts were compromised as high winds grounded aerial rescue attempts, prompting team members to remain overnight to preserve the scene. The report from the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department details how Sheriff’s Air Rescue 306 eventually managed to safely hoist medics to Huang’s location to confirm and recover her body.
Huang had embarked on a solo hike earlier on February 4 and had last made contact at around 4 p.m. that day. Her lack of communication propelled the Fontana Sheriff's Station into action with the Sheriff’s West Valley Search and Rescue crew combing the area without success in the early hours of February 5. As efforts continued, a blanket of snow and looming avalanches led to a temporary retreat, with search teams poised to resume once conditions improved.
The Sheriff's Department seized this moment to issue a grim warning, advising the public to avoid mountain activities amidst the punishing weather. "The weather has effectively buried the mountain in snow and it is highly likely hikers will get into trouble," a department statement said. They stressed that resources were stretched, and those getting lost could be forced to endure prolonged waits for rescue efforts.
Community cooperation was evident in Huang's search, with the Sheriff's Department extending thanks to all the personnel, volunteers, and the individual who's drone usage played a crucial role in locating Huang. Any further details on this incident should be directed to the Fontana Sheriff’s Station at 909-356-6767, or anonymously through We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME, as cited by the official statement.